Thursday, October 9, 2008

Judiciary Committee Sees Thru Pro-Slaughter BS

In response to the Pro-Slaughters Letter to Congress; submitted to Committee by
Lamar Smith.
Bob Goodlatte.
Steve King.
Jim Jordan

See Pro-Slaughter Letter at;

Congressional Summary Sees Through the BS


Opponents of this bill have argued that horse slaughter is a necessary evil, and that without it, the horses that would have been slaughtered will be abandoned or neglected, leading to another and worse form of cruelty to horses. The available evidence, however, does not support this assertion. Between 1990 and 1995, the number of horses slaughtered in the United States decreased from 345,700 to 109, 225. By 2001, the number of horses slaughtered in the United States or exported for slaughter had dropped to only 79, 734. 7

[Footnote] During this time, there was no reported epidemic of unwanted horses resulting from the decreased number of horses being slaughtered.

[Footnote 7: Humane Society Equine Slaughter Table, supra note 2.]

According to a 2002 United States Department of Agriculture report, 92.3% of the horses arriving at two Texas slaughter plants arrived in good condition. 8

[Footnote] They were not the `unwanted' sick, old, or starving horses. This statistic comports with common sense: healthy animals maximize the amount of meat processed per horse and help insure that the meat will be of good quality and safe for human consumption. Thus, the proportion of currently slaughtered horses that fall into the category of `unwanted' sick or old horses would appear to be small.

[Footnote 8: R. Timothy Cordes, D.V.M. and Betsy J. Stillers, Technical Coordinators, U.S.D.A. Guidebook for USDA's Slaughter Horse Transport Program, January 2002, at 5.]

The corollary of the opponents' argument regarding unwanted horses is that horse slaughter for human consumption is a humane form of euthanasia. Again, the available evidence does not support this claim. The previously described `puntilla' slaughter method used at many slaughterhouses in Mexico could never be considered humane. As described by Dr. Dodman, Director of Animal Behavior Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts' Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, `No ethical veterinarian, faced with a client who has a horse that is old, sick, or otherwise no longer wanted, would suggest that the horse in question should be put on a truck and hauled thousands of miles to slaughter. Instead, the veterinarian would most likely suggest truly humane euthanasia via chemical injection, after which the carcass can be composted, buried, incinerated, sent to landfill or rendered.' 9

[Footnote] The shot could be performed by any veterinarian at the farm, ranch, or racetrack.

[Footnote 9: Written testimony of Dr. Dodman at 2, submitted for the Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on July 31, 2008.]

The Committee received many letters from horse rescue organizations across the country, repeatedly telling the same experience of attempting to buy horses at auctions and getting out-bid by `killer-buyers' from the horse slaughterhouses. Based on these and other letters, testimony received at our hearing, and countless phone calls and conversations with other interested stakeholders, it appears to the Committee that there is a strongly committed community of horse rescue and sanctuary organizations, farmers, horse owners, and other entities and persons that are willing and able to assist with any `unwanted' horses that may result from this legislation. Large organizations such as the National Black Farmers Association, Animal Welfare Institute, and the Humane Society of the United States also have pledged to work with their members to find homes for any `unwanted horses.'

Horse slaughter for human consumption is a business. It is motivated by economic forces, not altruistic ones. In the Committee's opinion, the equities balance in favor of this legislation. We know for certain that if we do nothing, hundreds of thousands of horses will meet cruel and inhumane deaths at foreign slaughterhouses; if we pass this legislation, we save horses from suffering this same fate in the future. There may be unintended adverse consequences for a small percentage of these horses; but we are confident that the supporters of this bill--which are many and varied--are sincere about their commitment to the welfare of all horses.

Cong. Summary;


cocinero said...

It is not surprising that Congressman Steve King would oppose any legislation for humane treatment of animals. His record includes opposition to a bill to crack down on staged dogfights and cock fights. Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society wrote, "The most strident opponent of animal welfare has been Steve King."

There is hope. For the first time in his career in congress, Steve King has an active opponent: Rob Hubler. Go to to give Rob your support.

CJ said...

Thank you for sharing that info. I will be sure to pass it around to our Iowa "Friends."